More than one thousand columns flank the Mosque's exterior arcades, which is considered one of the striking features of the Mosque. The six-sided columns are clad with white marble slabs and inlaid with semi-precious stones, using a technique called "Pietra doura." The art form first appeared in Italy during the sixteenth century and was used in an adapted form by the seventeenth-century Mughal artisans in the Taj Mahal. The beauty of this meeting of two artistic techniques led to its revival and resurgence.
The total number of columns in the exterior area is 1096, and each piece of marble on the columns was individually carved and inlaid here on-site during the final stages of construction.
The column design is based on the date palm, and the stylized fronds that form the golden capitals are made of golden anodized aluminum.